Coach’s Corner: Q&A with UMW women’s tennis coach Catullo
By NOELLE PAOLICELLI
Coach Catullo has led the University of Mary Washington’s women’s tennis team to 11 Capital Athletic Conference championships and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in his 11 seasons in the head-coaching position.
The Eagles have dominated the CAC dating back to the 1990s and have advanced to the second most NCAA Championships in all of Division III. During his time at UMW, Catullo has shaped six conference Rookie of the Year awards, 11 conference Player of the Year awards, and has been honored with 10 conference Coach of the Year awards.
Q. How do you feel thus far into the season?
A. The Eagles are off to a great start this season! They split the first two matches against Division I opponents beating Norfolk State University 5-4 and then dropping a close match against Longwood University 5-2. The team then took a spring trip to California and went 2-1 against nationally ranked teams that week defeating No. 24 Laverne College 9-0 and No. 40 Chapman University 7-2 before falling to No. 1 Pomona College 9-0. The Eagles then hosted the Blue-Grey Invite at UMW where the Eagles went undefeated by beating two more nationally ranked programs No. 17 Skidmore College and No. 24 Case Western University. The Eagles are now 11-2 overall and 3-0 in the conference.
Q. Your program is very successful, what does it take to be this successful?
A. UMW has such great academic and athletic opportunities, which helps in recruiting top student-athletes to the tennis program.
Q. Where did you receive your coaching influence?
A. I have been fortunate to have many great mentors and colleagues and have learned many great things from all of them.
Q. You have some very crucial seniors on the squad this year, what is it going to be like trying to fill those gaps?
A. I think all of our players are crucial and everybody plays an important role to help this team be successful. Our philosophy focuses on the development of players and creating a culture of “making each other better”. Therefore, any gaps we do have at the end of the season will be filled quickly by others on the team.
Q. What was your tennis-playing career like?
A. I had a great experience playing for the men’s tennis program at Mary Washington College. I learned valuable lessons that focused on teamwork and sacrifice, which still help me today.
Q. What led to your coaching at UMW?
A. I was coaching a collegiate team in Florida when the head-coaching job at UMW opened. As a graduate of Mary Washington College (class of 1995), it was an honor to be considered for the position and a privilege to have the opportunity to work for UMW.
Q. Anything you would like to say regarding the team or UMW?
A. We look forward to the challenges that lie ahead of us this season. Our focus is on winning the 2016 conference championship and making the team’s 18th consecutive trip to the NCAA tournament.